The last thing you imagine when discovering that your vehicle is missing is that it has been seized, by mistake, by a bailiff. However, this is what happened to a Laval resident in the fall of 2022. Even if she managed to recover her Range Rover, the nurse was not at the end of her troubles. She is still fighting against the bailiff’s professional insurer to be reimbursed for the $14,400 costs incurred by this improbable misadventure.
Leaving work one evening in November, nurse Clarissa Nolasco notices that her vehicle is nowhere to be found. She files a complaint of theft with the police, before learning what happened. His 2012 Range Rover was instead seized by a bailiff, at the request of a bank. It was even sold!
In reality, the bailiff from the Hainault Gravel firm had to tow a 2014 Land Rover belonging to a man.
The bailiff blamed the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), which confirmed to him that he was seizing the right vehicle. However, the SAAQ swears that it never transmits this type of information. This part of the story is frankly enigmatic, not to say worrying, as we saw on the show The bill1 one year ago.
What is equally astonishing is that Clarissa Nolasco has still not been compensated, even though it is clear that she was the victim of an error and despite the media coverage of the story. His vehicle was broken during the towing operation, which resulted in a bill of $7,331 at the mechanic. And while waiting for the repairs to be made, the nurse had to pay $6,125 to rent a vehicle.
She is also seeking $10,000 for moral damages. To pay her bills, the woman was forced to work “a lot of overtime”, specifies the request instituting proceedings.
It is the Quebec insurance company Beneva which insures the members of the Chamber of Bailiffs of Quebec. It turns out that she is multiplying the procedures and requests, which constantly lengthens the deadlines, denounces a lawyer who agreed to take charge of Clarissa Nolasco’s case free of charge.
“Two weeks before the holidays, they promised us a settlement offer that we are still waiting for (…) They are trying to drag out time and exhaust my client. Quite frankly, I didn’t think I’d go there,” sighs Me Jean-Maxim LeBrun, from the Dunton Rainville firm.
Beneva did not want to comment on this case “because the case is currently in court”. I was simply written that claims processing times depend on a series of factors which are not necessarily attributable to the insurer such as the number of witnesses, the presence of expert advisors, the amount claimed and the recourse to legal proceedings. Surprise, a few hours later, Tuesday afternoon, Clarissa Nolasco received an offer. It is far too early to know if it will be accepted.
It’s not every day that a bailiff seizes the wrong vehicle, I agree.
But this mishap perfectly illustrates how laborious and time-consuming it can be to obtain compensation after having been the victim of a fault or error on the part of a professional. Although liability insurance serves to provide compensation, the road to receiving a check can be stressful.
In certain cases, the use of expertise of all kinds is necessary, which extends deadlines. This is the case when it comes to medical errors. “The problem is finding an expert who wants to testify against another. For a client who had not had surgery on the wrong leg, it took me months to find an orthopedist,” relates lawyer Jimmy Lambert (of the homonymous firm), who spends a good part of his time with this type of causes. This is not to mention that the process can be expensive if you have to go to court with a lawyer. In small claims, the maximum claim is only $15,000.
I can’t wait to know if the couple who paid $40,000 too much for their house because of the bogus offer scheme by real estate brokers Christine Girouard and Jonathan Dauphinais-Fortin will quickly get their money back.
After submitting a promise to purchase a house in Repentigny, the couple learned that there was another on the table. However, this offer, which was far too low to be taken seriously, had been signed solely with the aim of raising the stakes, as revealed by my colleague Isabelle Dubé.2.
It functioned. The couple increased their offer by $40,000. Now that the truth has come to light, the victims have everything in hand to obtain justice from the Professional Liability Insurance Fund of Real Estate Brokerage of Quebec (FARCIQ). They could also turn to the Real Estate Brokerage Compensation Fund. Let’s hope for them that it will be quick and simple. What happened to them is shocking.
Since 2019, FARCIQ has received 830 requests for compensation. Of the lot, 18% resulted in a payment with an average of just over $10,200.
In Quebec, the Professional Code provides that members of the 46 professional orders must maintain “guarantee against their liability in the event of fault”.
The Professional Liability Insurance Fund of the Barreau du Québec (FARPBQ) opens on average 440 files per year with a formal reproach made against the lawyer. Compensation is paid in around 20% of cases and the average time for closing files is 17 months.
The CPA insurance fund received 155 requests last year and processed 62. Among them, 18% resulted in a payment, the average of which was $7,235.
As for notaries, 399 claims were filed last year with the Liability Insurance Fund and 75% of the files were closed without payment. Average processing time is not public. In 2018, the Superior Court reprimanded the Fund3 because his “only concern” had been, in a specific case, “to avoid any outlay”.
Even if it is legitimate for an insurer to want to pay as little as possible, it cannot, to achieve its goal, “abuse its right, object in a frivolous and vexatious manner and maneuver to make time pass”, wrote Judge Johanne Brodeur.
Despite this warning, it would not be surprising if this strategy was still used by insurers, which is highly deplorable given the unequal means available to the parties involved. If you have a story to tell, don’t hesitate to write to me.